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Government and Politics

Cuyahoga Co. to use $23 million for home demolition.
Demolition fund comes from a $75 million settlement with big bank

A crane destroys a house on Morton Avenue in Cleveland.
Courtesy of Brian Bull
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Abandoned and foreclosed homes in the state are being demolished at a steady rate, thanks largely to a 75-million dollar settlement Ohio’s Attorney General secured earlier this year. The idea is to curb blight and crime by razing old homes. Recently, Mike DeWine and Cleveland officials gathered to celebrate the grant program with a demolition. Brian Bull of member station WCPN was there and has this report.

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An operator fires up his excavator, outside 6179 Morton Avenue in Cleveland.  Don’t bother remembering that address though, because, well…it’s history.

It doesn’t take long for the excavator to batter this two-and-a-half story home into rubble. To date, Cleveland has torn down 6,300 buildings, including 66 with Ohio’s demolition grant program, which Attorney General Mike DeWine created 10 months ago. He gave a eulogy of sorts to the Morton Avenue home, noting that there were many others on the same street that were headed for the same fate.

“You know, these houses, at one time were very, very, nice houses," Dewine says.  "The one that we’re going to knock down. But through neglect, through other things, the house now…just needs to simply go away.”

City Councilman Tony Brancatelli updated reporters on the Mayor’s year-long initiative to identify—and condemn—vacant homes across Cleveland.

“We’ll have nearly 7,000 condemned houses by the end of the year," Brancatelli says.  "The importance is, to be able to use these resources to selectively go through, and strategically do demolition throughout all our neighborhoods.” 

Cuyahoga County got $12 million in demolition grant funds, the largest in Ohio.  The local matching component has been met, meaning more than $23 million will be administered by the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, for continued demolitions. 

There still remain questions though, as to how much overall effect the money will have, as there may be further foreclosures coming soon to Cleveland and the rest of Ohio. One estimate already puts the number of abandoned properties in the state at 100,000.

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